INDIANAPOLIS (WTHI) - You've probably seen them popping up more frequently in stores on ads and in newspapers and magazines: QR codes. They are square looking bar codes.
Quick read is what it stands for. Scan it with your mobile device and It sends you to a website quickly. Simple and easy for you, but another place for hackers to hang out.
And that presents an opportunity for hackers.
Damon Richards, VP of Sales for Indianapolis based Port-to-Port consulting says you or anyone can create a QR code. It's as simple as googling QR code generator on your computer. "Go to the website. You type in the URL you want to go to, hit the button, it creates your QR code," he says.
Hackers can create codes, paste them over legitimate ones and take you to their own websites instead of the one you think you're going to. "The real question is, is it worth doing? Hacker's are after essentially 3 things. They want your bandwidth. They want your processing power. They want your storage. Well, there's not much of any of those on your phone," he says. But you may have personal information and contacts on your phone that hackers would want.
So take a couple of simple precautions. "Get some kind of app that encrypts your personal information on your phone, so that if somebody steals your phone or somebody hacks your phone, it's protected," says Richards. Another way to protect yourself is setting your QR code reader app, correctly. "Your QR code reader typically has a place where you can tell it, show me the website your are going to go to, before you go," says Richards. That way you'll know if it's a legit site or not.
Richards says the odds of being hacked by bogus QR codes is still very small. But as mobile phones get more powerful, the incentive for hackers to tap into them becomes stronger. So being prepared now, could avoid a big hassle later.
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